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Tag Archives: Unrequited Love

doginthemist400x600Title: The Dog in the Mist (The Bestiary)
Author: Sylvia A. Winters
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Length: 32,000 words
Genre: m/m Fantasy Paranormal
Heat: 1 – Sweet/None
Sex Frequency: 1 – None
Keywords/Tags: The Bestiary collection, Action/Adventure, Angst-alicious, Death, Ex-Lovers, Fae, Grieving, HEA, Second Chances, (Dog) Shifters, Unrequited Love
Rating: So So

Reviewed by Nikyta

**This review may contain spoilers**

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Dorian has been favored by tragedy for what seems like his entire life. He’s lost his parents, his best friend, and now he’s lost his gran as well. As if that’s not enough, he is stalked by a black dog too large to be just an ordinary dog, and which seems to bring death in its wake. To save himself, he will have to return to beliefs that he cast away long ago …

REVIEW

Dorian is leading a very lonely and depressing life. A year ago, his best friend, Evan, disappeared without a trace and now he’s just lost his Gran. He can’t seem to find the motivation to appreciate life anymore. Unfortunately, his life starts to get very weird when he’s stalked by a big black dog that seems to bring death whenever it shows itself. When he dies, he’s given an opportunity to live again, he just has to complete one task. While doing this, he realizes the black dog that’s helping him might not be just a strange dog but someone he actually knows.

This was a hard book to read. I struggled for more than half of it. Dorian is a rather depressing individual since the story starts while he’s grieving over his Gran, in addition to grieving for Evan. His sister, Vicky, forces him to get on with his life and start living again. From the start, though, the author makes it hard to like Dorian and Evan. Dorian comes across as very dark and pines after Evan, while Evan is a complete bastard throughout the story. With that said, the story eventually becomes interesting when the fae get involved and forces Dorian to grow a backbone and save Evan.

We don’t actually meet Evan until almost the end but this story had a lot of flashbacks. Unfortunately, these flashbacks hindered the story instead of helped it move along. They were a struggle to get through because sometimes they didn’t even progress the story at all. What they ended up doing, however, was putting Evan in a bad light, showing how much of a jerk he was to not only Dorian, who was supposed to be his best friend, but to everyone else. A good portion of the book was hard to get through but, thankfully, it picks up towards the end. When I reached the point where Dorian was no longer dwelling on the past, I started to like the story a bit more (although there are still flashbacks, they aren’t as frequent). The added action that Dorian goes through boosted my enjoyment and slightly made up for my dislike of the beginning. Also, I found the ending very sweet.

In the end, this was an okay read. I can’t say that I’d recommend it because most of it was very hard endure. I was never one for flashbacks, especially ones that did not move the story along, so those were my least favorites parts of the book. The story is interesting if you can get passed the first half and finally get into the meat of the plot and I was intrigued by the world that Dorian was thrust into, as well as, what he found out about himself. There are good things and bad things to the story, so I’ll leave it up to the reader to decide if it is something they want to try.


howaboutaboyfriend400Title: How About a Boyfriend?
Author: TT Kove
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Length: 11,600 words
Genre: m/m Contemporary Romance
Heat: 4 – Spicy & Smutty
Sex Frequency: 4 – Very Often
Keywords/Tags: Short Story, Kiss Me at Midnight collection, m/m/m scene, GFY, Friends to Lovers, Unrequited Love, First Times, HEA
Rating: So So

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Unceremoniously dumped when he finds his girlfriend making out with another man, Roar decides he’s done with women, much to the amusement of his best friend, who has never preferred them. But when his venting turns into a conversation Roar never expected to have, he finds himself faced with a question he never thought to be asked.

REVIEW

Your feelings about this story will hinge upon how you feel about the I Know What’s Best For You plot device, also known as I’ll Be Miserable so You Can Be Happy Without Your Choice in the Matter, or I Don’t Want to Take a Chance and Ruin Our Friendship. That pretty much sums up this story where Henning, a gay man in love with his straight best friend Roar, can’t believe what he’s hearing from his friend as they talk over breakfast. Roar has just had his heart crushed in by another woman, and is thinking about giving them up all together. But, not as Henning thinks, for celibacy, but maybe to try out being with a man instead. It smacks of a ruse immediately, but Henning doesn’t seem to catch on, no doubt under the impression that despite his feelings of secret love for his best friend, Roar could never want him in the same way. He’s further surprised then, when Roar admits that if he is going to do this, have sex with a man and see what he thinks, he wants it to be someone he’s comfortable with — of course, Henning.

Overall, I doubt this story will be a big winner with many readers, for a few reasons. First, the GFY angle is a bit of a stretch, like a gay adolescent fantasy. It isn’t the story itself, but the way it’s approached from the beginning with the sudden revelation. Of course, it’s incredibly sexy. Much of this story is centered around their sex scene and another m/m/m scene later where Roar really works through his feelings about Henning. I think that a lot of readers also have a bit of a problem (or, if not a problem it makes them roll their eyes a bit) when a character decides to not talk and ignore an issue for the good of another character, not allowing them to make their own choices. And while I can handle that in some instances (it isn’t a problem for me outright), the fact that this is such a short story does mean that we don’t get to know the characters or their situation well enough to pull off a good reason why Henning shouldn’t confess his feelings for his best friend. It leaves the story in the midst of friendship where they’re not talking about real issues or being honest, and that miscommunication takes up the whole story.

So, my positive feelings about this story really were only how sexy it was. Other than that, I didn’t know the characters well enough to get past the whole “setup” feel of the story. Also, I just can’t believe their names. Roar? Henning? Maybe… I don’t know. This might not be the place to state how annoying I find the names recently in m/m, but I just can’t stand that we’re having such crazy names now. These were a little too out there for me. It made me wonder if this was set in a fantasy world or something!

So, I have to give this story a So So. The reason that it didn’t get a Not Feeling It rating, which it almost did, was that while I was reading the story, I did enjoy it. It just made me roll my eyes a bit and made me frustrated trying to dig deeper into it for a review when I felt like what is there is really just what is on the surface.


santasnaughtyhelper185Title: Santa’s Naughty Helper
Author: Ari McKay
Publisher: Torquere
Length: 15,100 words
Genre: m/m, Contemporary, Romance
Heat: 3 – Sexy & Mild
Sex Frequency: 3 – Average Story to Sex
Keywords/Tags: Adorable!!, Christmas, Co-Workers, Friends to Lovers, HEA, Short Story, Unrequited Love
Rating: Really Liked It

Reviewed by Nikyta

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When shy attorney Kevin Anderson draws Erik Wilson, his hunky co-worker, in their office’s secret gift exchange, he realizes this might be just the opportunity he needs to make Erik notice him. Erik seems to enjoy the game of twelve days of naughty gifts, but can Kevin overcome his fear of rejection enough to go through with his plan and offer himself to Erik on Christmas Eve?

REVIEW

While the blurb is a bit vague, it actually does a great job of describing the story. Aside from the fact Kevin and Erik are also best friends, there’s something about unrequited love that gets me every time. I love the fear that’s always associated with loving your best friend.

I absolutely adored Kevin and Erik. Kevin is very shy and easily embarrassed while Erik is comfortable being the center of attention. It was fun seeing how Kevin fussed over his gift idea for Erik and then ended up creating a game out of it. He knew Erik would enjoy a game and it was the perfect ploy to get Erik to notice him. It was amusing to see Kevin’s gifts go from innocent chocolate and wine to more adventurous gifts like a variety of sex toys.

I really enjoyed the author’s writing style. While the story is short, we still get enough details about everything that provides just enough depth to the characters that they are real enough to connect with. It was easy for me to imagine the expression on Kevin’s face whenever Erik would fluster him. Aside from that, while it isn’t obvious of the feelings Erik has for Kevin at first, it becomes noticeable that Kevin’s feelings aren’t just one-sided. My only regret was that the story ended where it did. I’d have enjoyed seeing everyone’s reactions to knowing Kevin was Erik’s secret Santa, as well as, how people would take their new relationship.

This might be one of my favorite Christmas stories so far because it was both fun and cute. I liked the slow progression and Kevin’s gift ideas. I was amused by how much fun Erik was getting out of the game. It was a great story and I’ll definitely be looking for more books from this author.


NJN_ChristmastimeAtPapaLeesTitle: Christmastime at Papa Lee’s
Author: N.J. Nielsen
Publisher: MLR Press
Length: 28,000 words
Genre: m/m, Contemporary, Romance
Heat: 3 – Sexy & Mild
Sex Frequency: 3 – Average Story to Sex
Keywords/Tags: Angst, Christmas, Co-Workers, HEA, Homeless, Injured Character, Unrequited
Rating: So So

Reviewed by Nikyta

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RSVP by December 20th: You are cordially invited to attend a Christmas celebration at Papa Lee’s.

Casey Chambers isn’t used to kindness; being tossed out onto the street does that to a person. His life takes a turn for the better when he lands a job at Papa Lee’s. Not only does the Lee family give Casey a place to work, they give him a place to call home… And the opportunity to find love with one of their own. But Casey’s burgeoning relationship with Marty Lee is threatened when Marty withdraws after a vicious attack. It’ll take a miracle for Casey to convince Marty they’re meant to be.

Good thing it’s the season for miracles.

REVIEW

Marty Lee lives a rather lonely life. At twenty-eight, he’s still essentially living with his parents, working at the family diner and carries more than a few extra pounds around his waist. According to him, he’s not a catch so who would want him? Casey apparently does, though. At nineteen, Casey’s had a rough life. Thrown out of his home at almost sixteen for being gay, he’s been lucky enough to survive until now. For a year, he’s come into Papa Lee’s to admire Marty until one day when Marty finally gathers the courage to ask Casey out. From there, things become both easier and more complicated for everyone involved.

I really liked that Marty sported some extra dough around his middle. While he thought he wasn’t attractive, he tended to attract a few good looking guys. I liked him as a character because he was nice, sweet and oblivious to certain things. At times I found his actions a bit dramatic and unbelievable, though. Casey was an interesting character. While homeless, he was still able to maintain his goth looks even though he didn’t have a job and only received a small amount of money from his dad. I found this a bit peculiar because knowing how much the goth apparel costs, I didn’t really understand how Casey could maintain it on so little money.

Aside from that, the relationship Casey and Marty have starts off nice but after Casey takes a job at Papa Lee’s, it’s all based off a misunderstanding. I found that slightly annoying only because I firmly believe people should consult all parties before making assumptions on what’s best for someone else. Still, it was entertaining the moment Marty realized how much he’s messed up with trying to keep distance between him and Casey.

The resolution to the conflict felt a bit flat, though. So many different theories were pushed together but the actual reveal of why Marty was beaten up wasn’t as climatic as I was expecting. I felt like there were also multiple little conflicts within the story that made it chaotic and almost too much for this type of story. I struggled at times with this because these additional conflicts didn’t flow smoothly from one problem to the next. I enjoyed the ending but I also felt like it was too convenient and Casey was too forgiving.

Overall, it was an okay read. I wasn’t as invested in it as I was hoping to be. I liked certain parts of it but there were times when the story dragged because of repetitive words or because Marty was over analyzing everything.


SL_NoPlaceLikeHomeTitle: There’s No Place Like Home for the Holidays
Author: Shawn Lane
Publisher: MLR Press
Length: 9,000 words
Genre: m/m, Contemporary, Romance
Heat: 3 – Sexy & Mild
Sex Frequency: 3 – Average Story to Sex
Keywords/Tags: Adorable, Best Friends, Christmas, HEA, Short Story, Unrequited Love
Rating: Pretty Good

Reviewed by Nikyta

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For the first time in years, Mac is going home for the holidays with his best friend Connor in tow, but he certainly doesn’t expect the magic of Christmas to give him the love of a lifetime.

Fashion designer, Mackenzie Grayson, has no intention of going home for Christmas…until his sister calls and uses guilt to talk him into spending two weeks over the holidays at his family’s home in California. With his best friend, Connor, in tow, Mac returns to California, a place he has mostly avoided after a bad breakup. Mac no longer does serious relationships, but maybe some time spent with Connor under the mistletoe will make this a more magical Christmas than either of them would have dreamed of.

REVIEW

Mackenzie Grayson is a relationship phobic fashion designer. Going from one guy to another suits his needs just fine after a bad break up years prior. Moving to Hawaii also did the trick where he met Connor and they became fast friends. Now, Mac is being guilted into spending the holidays with his family in Los Angeles but when Connor breaks up with his boyfriend, Mac invites him to come along. While there, with the threat of an ex-one night stand and a little mistletoe, Mac finally realizes just how much Connor has come to mean to him.

This was a sweet story. I enjoyed the scenes between Connor and Mac. I adored Connor because he’s so flamboyant and exuberant. He’s extremely excited about spending the Christmas holiday with a family that goes above and beyond the Christmas spirit. His awe of everything Christmas related he came across was very fun. I liked Mac, although he seemed a bit obnoxious to me. Mac’s family were cute, though, because they were so grateful to finally have Mac home.

The story doesn’t go into much detail about anything. In fact, that was one of my problems. While we get to see the connection between Connor and Mac, we really don’t know much about them or their back stories. The bad break up Mac experienced isn’t talked about so it left me with questions over just how bad it was or who this mysterious ex-lover was. Because the story is so short, we only see the build up to Connor and Mac’s eventual intimacy and afterwards, that is pretty much it. I would have liked to see how these two incorporate their new relationship from friends to lovers into their lives.

As it was, this story was short and cute but lacked a necessary depth to allow me to love the characters. I still enjoyed the story because it gave me the warm and fuzzies and left me with a smile. It’s a great read for those looking for some Christmas spirit and a great pick me up.


WhatAboutHimLGTitle: What About Him
Author: E.E. Montgomery
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: 32,687 words, 131 pages
Genre: m/m, Contemporary, Mystery
Heat: 1 – Sweet/None
Sex Frequency: 1 – None
Keywords/Tags: Cops, Teachers, Unrequited, Co-Workers
Rating: Not Feelin’ It

Reviewed by Nikyta

**Might contain some spoilers**

BLURB

There’s a snake in Aidan’s bed, but it’s not the kind he wants. A nest of snakes under his house heralds the kind of disruption that Aidan has been trying to avoid all his life and turns him into a hysterical mess. First he sleeps with his best friend, Baxter. Until their one-night-stand, Aidan was happy with his life and their friendship. Now he’s lonely and craves a relationship Baxter doesn’t want.

Then Aidan meets Detective Sam Walters while consulting on a murder investigation and his dreams are suddenly invaded by a man who makes Aidan want to strip faster than an attack by green ants. Too bad Sam is straight.

When snakes take over Aidan’s home and a gorgeous snake catcher comes to his rescue, Aidan’s confusion is complete. To add to the mess Aidan’s life has become, a man ends up dead on his living room floor, Baxter confesses to his murder, and calm, cheerful Sam yells at Aidan. It’s enough to make a quiet professor of sociology prefer the snakes.

REVIEW

When I read the blurb for this book, I was very intrigued. It seemed funny and possibly charming. Unfortunately, the story didn’t live up to the potential it had.

Dr. Aidan Markham is a professor and consultant for the local police department. He’s got a crush on both his best friend, Baxter, and Senior Detective Sam Walters. He’s surprised when suddenly he has an infestation of snakes at his house while simultaneously getting a case from the police about a series of robberies. Now, his ordinary life is in shambles while he’s trying to deal with snakes, his best friend’s love life, and the case he’s working on with Sam in addition to the feelings he’s developing for his snake catcher, Doug.

I had a lot of problems with this story. The book is very short so there’s not many details on the scenes I was looking forward to reading. If you’re looking for a romance, this isn’t one and while it’s labeled on the publisher’s site as humor, it’s not. At least to me, there was nothing funny about it. In fact, this story felt flat in pretty much everything.

The mystery was very weak and for some reason, Aidan couldn’t put two and two together and connect some very obvious occurrences. I figured it out within seconds of learning that one thing connected him to the case he was working on. I grew frustrating waiting for him to connect the dots especially because he’d mention thinking of the case a lot.

The characters lack any depth, even Aidan. All we know about him is his job, the fact he’s lonely and that he ends up crushing on every single guy he meets, which then leads to him lusting after and constant thoughts of that guy. Then only for that guy he’s thinking of to be replaced by a different hot guy he sees later in the day. It grew tiresome and I felt like Aidan was a very flaky character. He couldn’t set his sights on one guy, but instead, just dreamed about them all.

This grew aggravating because while the love interesting is the detective, Sam Walters, we get no indication of their relationship beyond a professional setting. In fact, the only part that features them in a romantic setting is when they kiss and the ending. There’s no lead up to their feelings (because Aidan is constantly thinking of a bunch of other men instead of the hunky cop he works with) and even after a brief kiss, it’s like they revert back to a work relationship until the end where I’m guessing the author was trying to achieve an HEA but, to me, it didn’t feel right. The story didn’t feel complete. I couldn’t grasp how Aidan and Sam go from co-workers to a somewhat loving relationship.

The story had a lot of potential, though and the ending was slightly sweet, I’ll give it that, but at one point, Aidan goes home to a dead body being in his living room. This made the story interesting for a split second until you figure out who the dead person is, which just so happened to be the only character I was liking in the book.

All in all, this was a frustrating read. Too many conflicts were happening at the same time for it all to be tied together seamlessly. The story was too short with a lack of details for it to be a comedy, romance and mystery at once. What there is, didn’t blend well together and ended up feeling like the characters were all whinny instead of sophisticated adults. I will say, while I struggled a lot with it, there was something about it that still made me want to finish.